It’s counter-intuitive; restaurants that are on the brink of bankruptcy contribute free meals to health workers in a trend repeated by restaurants and food service companies though-out the United States. In the church I attend, the pastor, knowing the church is out of bounds for worship, sits in the parking lot several days each week hearing confessions and listening to his flock as they drive up in cars, open the window and talk with Father. Even in the rain, Father sits there with an umbrella in the middle of a 2-acre parking lot.   

To boost our own self-image, just think about our industry; aviation, and what an amazing job we are doing to ensure the health and safety of our citizens. And like the restauranteurs mentioned above, some of these airlines and airline service firms may not survive the year.  

Even though many in the airline industry are taking a huge financial hit from this year’s COVID-19 pandemic crisis, many are the first to step up to assist their government in bringing its citizens home, as well as transforming their otherwise grounded passenger aircraft into freighters to meet the huge demand for cargo, including much-needed medical supplies, health workers and other products to keep the global economy running.

We certainly have missed a few of the good deeds and welcome inputs from our readers. The summarized paragraphs below were sourced from airline and airline service company press releases. Send your note or story to

Spirit Airlines Repatriates More Than 7,500 passengers

Source and credit: Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines has brought more than 7,500 people home in the midst of international travel restrictions, thanks to an ongoing humanitarian effort. The Florida-based ULCC has already flown 61 flights between eight countries and has obtained travel permits for over 25 more.

Since April 1, the airline has organized humanitarian flights connecting the U.S. with Colombia, Honduras, Haiti, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Aruba. 

United Airlines Turns Old Uniforms Into Masks for Employees

Source and credit: United Airlines

United Airlines delivered 7,500 face coverings over the past week to front line employees at San Francisco International Airport and the airline’s San Francisco Maintenance Base that were made from 12,284 pounds of uniforms that United upcycled. 

Chicago-based United worked with upcycling partner, Looptworks, to produce masks that would supplement the supply of face coverings that the airline already provides all employees and customers. 

In addition, United recently rolled out new Carhartt Company Gear for its 28,000 technical operations, ramp service and catering operations employees and originally planned to turn the surplus of older garments into carpet padding and insulation fiber. The company changed course last month to align with the latest guidance from the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) to wear face masks in public when social distancing is not possible. 

Airlink, Salvation Army Partner to Transport 150,000 Masks to New York

Source and credit: Airlink

Airlink and the Salvation Army have joined forces for the first time to fly 150,000 masks to New York JFK airport from Guangzhou, China. The masks will largely be distributed among Salvation Army frontline personnel ensuring staff and volunteers can continue to deliver food, shelter and emotional and spiritual assistance to vulnerable people during the COIVD-19 pandemic. 

The Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) was sourced by the Salvation Army in China. Airlink normally uses its deep relationships with the airlines and airfreight carriers to secure free and low-cost space for nonprofits. On this occasion, the flight was supported by the Flexport Fund. 

Alaska Airlines Serves Up Seafood to Frontline Workers

Source and credit: Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines has partnered with Trident Seafoods, Ocean Beauty Seafoods, Copper River Marketing Association and famed Seattle chef Tom Douglas to serve up the season’s first Copper River salmon to healthcare workers and the Greater Seattle community. 

Douglas featured salmon donated by the seafood processors and the Copper River Marketing Association to prepare over 200 meals for Swedish Hospital medical professionals working on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. Pilots, flight attendants and management employees from Alaska delivered the meals and thanked workers for their efforts. 

Collins Aerospace CSR Teams Help India’s COVID-19 Crisis

Source and credit: Collins Aerospace

Collins Aerospace’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) teams from both its Bengaluru and Hyderabad, India, sites partnered with local non-profit organizations in the fight against COVID-19 and, together, donated $173,000. And with the lockdown impacting society’s most vulnerable people who need daily basic food supplies, a combined contribution of $7,500 was made to Youth for Seva to procure and deliver dry meal supplies for impoverished residents and migrant labor communities. 

To support the Indian government’s effort to strengthen hospitals in both Bengaluru and Hyderabad, Collins CSR groups donated a total of $140,000 to the United Way to distribute hygiene and safety kits to healthcare staff and paramedics. A contribution of $25,500 was made to the NICE Foundation toward protection kits to equip police and sanitation personnel. 

And Collins employees in both Bengaluru and Hyderabad came forward and contributed $1,800 toward United Way. 

Boeing Dreamlifters Transport PPE to South Carolina

Source and credit: Boeing

Boeing completed another set of COVID-19 airlift missions May 11, deploying three Dreamlifter aircraft to transport more than 150,000 protective eye goggles and face shields from China to the US. Boeing worked in partnership with the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) to deliver the personal protective equipment (PPE) to frontline health care professionals in the MUSC system.

The MUSC Health team will use the PPE as they support the revitalization of the economy and ramp-up COVID-19 community outreach efforts, including diagnostic testing and antibody testing, across South Carolina. MUSC Health, under the guidance of the South Carolina Legislature and in partnership with South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, has established mobile screening and collection sites in rural and underserved areas. 

The mobile setup allows health care providers to rotate sites, reaching people experiencing barriers to health care access for COVID-19 screening. Rural and underserved communities have experienced disparities in access to COVID-19 screening, testing, prevention and treatment in South Carolina and across the US. 

JetBlue Launches ‘Healthcare Hero’ Program

Source and credit: JetBlue

New York-based JetBlue launched JetBlue Healthcare Hero, which will honor 100,000 healthcare workers with roundtrip flight certificates for two to anywhere JetBlue flies. 

To kick off the program, JetBlue is donating pairs of roundtrip flight certificates for 10,000 healthcare workers at the Mount Sinai Health System, including their Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island campuses, as well as at NYC Health + Hospitals, the largest public healthcare system in the US with more than 70 locations across the city’s five boroughs. 

JetBlue is calling on customers to thank the healthcare heroes in their life—from doctors and nurses, to pharmacists, therapists, social workers, public health administrators and more—by nominating them for a chance to receive one of 90,000 pairs of roundtrip flight certificates for two to use when the time is right.

DHL Moves More than 100 Tons/Week of Medical Supplies

Source and credit: DHL

DHL Global Forwarding is partnering with specialized customers in the health care sector to move more than 100 tons a week of much-needed supplies, equipment parts, pharmaceuticals and protective clothing for hospitals, health care workers and patients throughout the United States. The new customer partnerships are part of DHL Global Forwarding’s continued commitment to provide a holistic range of patient-centric solutions and deliver them where they are needed most—especially during this coronavirus pandemic.

Duncan Aviation makes masks, gowns for front-line workers

Source and credit: Duncan Aviation

In March, aircraft service provider Duncan Aviation’s interior and upholstery team reached out to a local hospital in Lincoln, Nebraska, to ask for help in designing a face mask so the company could practice safe self-distancing as they worked. After realizing the magnitude of the mask shortage, Duncan employees stepped up to help. 

The hospital shared specifics and two different mask templates were created. Using the hospital’s instructions, Duncan Aviation digitized the designs for cutting with its automated fabric-cutting machine, which usually cuts leather, sheepskin and other durable materials for use in business aircraft. Depending on the width of the material used for the masks, Duncan Aviation can cut materials for up to 900 masks every hour. To date, the company has cut more than 15,000 masks. 

Joseph Alba
Mr. Alba was previously Editor of the Airport Press for 12 years covering both local as well as global aviation news. Prior to this, Mr. Alba had Executive positions in Systems Engineering and Marketing with IBM World Trade, and had foreign assignments in the Far East and Latin America earning three Outstanding Achievement Awards. Mr. Alba also directed a new function dealing with Alternate Fuels for Public Service Electric & Gas company in New Jersey and founded a Natural Gas Vehicle Consortium consisting of car company executives and fleet owners, and NGV suppliers in New Jersey. Mr. Alba was a founding partner of ATA, an IT Consulting company which is still active in Central and South America. After leaving the armed forces, Mr. Alba’s initial employee was the U.S. Defense Department as an analyst.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.